Once your kids have grown up (and whether they’ve flown the nest or not!), the dynamic between you changes. They get to sit at the adult’s table now, and that means taking part in conversations you would have usually had after they’d gone to bed.
And while it’s healthy and constructive to ensure you make decisions as a family now, it can be hard to reconcile that idea with the reality: you still see them as your baby!
But you know treating them this way will only push them away from you, and you’d never want that to happen. So, how can you bridge the gap between the way you see your child and who they really are now? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Value Their Time
If you value your children’s time, they’ll be happy to talk to you no matter what. After all, you let them get on with their life without needing to drop everything to answer your text or pick up your call whenever you ring them. You know they’re busy, working or being with their own family or spending time unwinding, and you don’t panic over them being ‘offline’ here and there.
If you showcase this attitude from the day they turn 18 years old, or the day they move out of their childhood home, there will be no trouble in encouraging them to get involved with family decisions. They know you see them as an adult with their own life. That kind of respect is often forgotten about, but is so crucial in maintaining that parent and child bond you have.
Acknowledge That There Will Be Disagreements
Not just could be – will be too. Say you want to draw up a will, and you’re telling the kids all about what’s being left to whom. This could lead to a disagreement over who is entitled to inherit what, and could end in a blow-up argument and storming out of the house. That’s life!
And it might happen – it’s why we have services like a Partition Lawyer available to us. But knowing it could happen, and allowing your adult kids their own space and freedom to express themselves, is much easier than not talking at all.
Be Clear About Your Own Boundaries (and expect the same)
A lot of miscommunication between parents and their adult children can come from a lack of enforceable boundaries. They’re adults now, what they do is up to them, and putting your foot down becomes much, much harder.
It’s why you might argue more frequently these days; there’s a disconnect between their actual age and your perception of them, leading to this sense of being ‘babied’. So be clear from here on out about what you expect, on both sides. You’re their parent, of course, but that shouldn’t mean you bring an entitled attitude to your interactions.
Your kids are all grown up – what now? Get them involved by communicating in the right way.